How to Hire a Good Plumber in Chesapeake
Hiring qualified plumbers to handle your plumbing issues effectively can help you save on water and sewer charges. Chesapeake produces approximately 15 million gallons of water per day for about 65,000 households, with a bi-monthly water rate of $46.64 for the first 600 cubic feet of water. Retaining the services of a qualified plumber guarantees that your plumbing system runs effectively, reduce water wastage from plumbing defects, and reduce costs associated with fixing recurring plumbing problems. When looking for a plumber near you, you can rely on referrals from other home improvement contractors, friends, neighbors, and family members. However, it is important that you ask the following questions to be adequately informed before hiring any plumber:
- Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Chesapeake?
- How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Chesapeake?
- Do You Comply with the City of Chesapeake Building Code for Plumbing?
- Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Chesapeake Code?
- What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
- Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Chesapeake?
- Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Chesapeake?
Are You Licensed to Practice as a Plumber in the City of Chesapeake?
Plumbers must possess professional licenses before offering their services in the City of Chesapeake. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) issues plumbing licenses to eligible individuals in Chesapeake via its Board for Contractors. Plumbers who offer services without valid licenses or the right class of license commit a misdemeanor punishable with a maximum fine of $500. Note that each day of contracting without a license constitutes a separate offense.
Individuals interested in obtaining licenses from the DPOR can either apply for the journeyman plumber license or the master plumber license depending on their qualification and experience. To apply for plumbing licenses, interested parties must be at least 18 years old, attend an approved and accredited vocational school, and acquire experience as an apprentice plumber under the supervision of a licensed journeyman or master plumber. Upon completing the requisite vocational and apprentice training, applicants can apply for their desired plumber license. As a prerequisite for obtaining plumbing licenses, applicants must complete all plumbing licensing exams conducted by PSI Exams Online.
Note that at the discretion of DPOR, some applicants may be exempted from writing the plumbing licensing exams. To be eligible for the licensing exams for a journeyman plumber license, the applicants must fulfill certain requirements like having a combined four-year practical experience and 240 hours of formal vocational training in the plumbing trade. Applicants with more than four years can substitute their formal vocational training at a ratio of one year of experience for 80 hours but must not exceed 200 hours. Alternatively, applicants can possess an associate's degree or certificate of completion from a two-year program in the plumbing trade field from an accredited school. In addition to this degree or certificate, they must acquire at least two years of practical experience in the plumbing trade.
Similarly, to be eligible for a master plumbing license examination, applicants must have one year of experience as a state-licensed journeyman plumber or ten years of plumbing experience to be verified by an attestation letter from a former employer or client. Once all requirements have been met, interested individuals can download and complete a Tradesman and License Application form, submit this form and pay the applicable fees to the DPOR. Applicants should note that the DPOR may require them to submit other documents, such as a letter of good standing, before their application can be processed. For more information concerning the licensing processes and requirements for plumbers in Chesapeake, interested persons can contact DPOR at (804) 367-8511.
Flowing from the Virginia State reciprocity program with Washington, Washington Plumbers are not required to satisfy certain requirements before applying for a license in Chesapeake. Inquiries regarding requirement exemptions and this reciprocity program can be directed to the DPOR at (804) 367-8511.
You can verify the licensing status of your intended plumber via the license lookup tool provided by DPOR.
How Much Do You Charge Compared to Plumbers in the City of Chesapeake?
How much plumbers charge in Chesapeake is influenced by factors like their expertise, cost of materials, the required workforce, and the type of permits required for the plumbing project. However, when looking for suitable and affordable plumbers near you, it is best to collect and compare quotes from multiple plumbers. Comparing quotes will also help with budgeting for the project.
A plumber in the City of Chesapeake earns an annual average wage of $49,730. Below is a breakdown of the average hourly wages for plumbers in Chesapeake compared with plumbers in other parts of Virginia and other major cities in the country:Chesapeake Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$23.91Virginia Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$24.75Los Angeles Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$29.04Atlanta Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.53New York City Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$35.78Houston Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$26.71Miami Plumbers Hourly Average Wage$22.66
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Do You Comply with the City of Chesapeake Building Code for Plumbing?
The 2018 Virginia Plumbing Code is a set of rules and regulations utilized by the City of Chesapeake to ensure minimum safety standards are complied with during any installation, alteration, repair, or replacement of plumbing systems in the city. The Code ensures adherence to public safety and aims to protect the health of residents when using plumbing materials in the city. This makes it necessary to hire a plumber knowledgeable about the Plumbing Code and relevant sections that apply to your intended project. Violating the Plumbing Code during your project is a misdemeanor, and penalties for such violation will be determined by the Code Compliance Division of the Chesapeake Department of Development and Permits (DDP).
For more information concerning the Plumbing Code and what is required of you when planning a plumbing project in the city, you can contact the DDP's Code Compliance Division at (757) 382-6018.
Will You Get the Plumbing Permits as Required by the City of Chesapeake Code?
Plumbing permits are typically required in the City of Chesapeake for any new construction, alteration, repair, or replacement of existing plumbing systems in the city. However, some plumbing projects, like replacing plumbing fixtures and well pumps without altering water supply, distribution systems, sanitary drainage systems, or vent systems in the process, can be performed without a plumbing permit.
The City of Chesapeake Department of Development and Permits issues plumbing permits to interested parties via its Office of Building Permits and Inspections. Homeowners or their hired plumbing contractors can apply for plumbing permits by downloading and completing an application for a plumbing permit form. Plumbing contractors must ensure they include their tradesman license while completing the form. The completed form, accompanied by requisite plans, if applicable, and permit application fees, can be sent via mail to the Office of Building Permits and Inspections at:
- Department of Development and Permits
- P. O. Box 15225
- Chesapeake, VA 23328
Applicants can also apply for plumbing permits online via the city's citizen portal-eBuild. New users must register for a free Citizen Access account to use the online platform. After which, they can log into their account to create a building application. Ensure you fill in the correct details, upload plans if applicable, and other documents required to complete the submission. The plumbing application will be reviewed, and if it is successful, the applicants will be issued a plumbing permit. The next line of action for applicants is to apply for inspections at each relevant stage of the plumbing project. Applicants can use the inspection list provided by the city's Office of Building Permits and Inspections to know the particular stage an inspection will be required. Applicants can submit inspection requests via the City of Chesapeake Customer Contact Center or online via the city's citizen eBUILD portal. Alternatively, applicants can contact the City's Customer Contact Center at 757-382-CITY (2489). After the inspections and payment of all outstanding fees, if any, applicants will be issued a Certificate of Occupancy. If you have queries regarding the city's permitting process and inspections, you can direct them to the City's Office of Building Permits and inspections at (757) 382-6018 or via email.
What Kind of Plumbing Services Do You Offer?
Chesapeake plumbers offer various plumbing services like fixing leaks, installing gas lines, and clearing drain clogs. They generally charge between $79 to $90 per hour for residential plumbing works and between $100 to $115 per hour for commercial plumbing works.
When hiring a plumber, you must ensure you confirm your intended plumber can handle your specific plumbing work. For instance, some plumbers work on residential building plumbing systems, while some handle only commercial plumbing projects. Irrespective of the type of plumbing service rendered, it is important to confirm the plumber has enough expertise and is well equipped to handle the planned plumbing project. Below are estimates of some services commonly offered by plumbers in the City of Chesapeake:Toilet installation/replacement$166 - $179Clearing drain clog or blockage$135 - $165Bathtub installation$2,080 - $2,550Drain line video inspection$280 - $320Gas line installation$32 - $47Septic system installation$8,000 - $9,500Septic tank cleaning or pumping$295 - $350Sewer line cleaning$185 - $290Sewer line installation and repair$65 - $84Sump pump installation$925 - $1,330Water softener installation$1,120 - $1,500Well pump installation$825 - $980
Do You Offer Emergency Plumbing Services in the City of Chesapeake?
A simple leaky faucet or toilet in a household can waste more than 1000 gallons of water per year. Water leaks might seem like a minor issue, but it is crucial you deal with them as soon as possible, as they can cause damage to your building's interior and structure. Fixing the leaks as soon as you detect them also saves you extra costs on repairs or replacing an extensive damaged plumbing system.
If you detect a leak, faulty toilet flapper, or clogged drains in your home, and generally any plumbing anomaly, you have a plumbing emergency on your hand, and this will entail you hiring a qualified and licensed plumber near you. You can use websites like Better Business Bureau, Google Review, and Yelp to find a qualified Chesapeake plumber near you. Note that information on these third-party websites cannot be authenticated because they are not official government websites. Nonetheless, you can always verify the licensing status of plumbers you find on these platforms via the license lookup tool provided by the DPOR.
Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Plumbers in the City of Chesapeake?
Licensed plumbers in Chesapeake are not mandated to have a general liability insurance policy. However, it is advisable to hire plumbers with an active general liability insurance policy to relieve yourself of financial liability for any injuries sustained during your projects. Due to the work environment, plumbers are at an increased risk of slips and falls. In 2019, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 37,800 nonfatal work-related injuries among plumbers in the country. Hence, the possibility of an injury during your plumbing work is higher than you may think.
However, under Virginia law, plumbers with employees are required to carry workers' compensation insurance for their employees in case of a work-related injury. Plumbers who fail to obtain workers' compensation insurance are liable to a fine of $5,000. For more information regarding Chesapeake workers' compensation insurance requirements, you can contact the Virginia Worker Compensation Commission at (877) 664-2566.
Generally, before hiring a plumber in Chesapeake, ensure you request a copy of their active insurance certificate and further authenticate such certificate by contacting the issuing insurance company.
How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Plumber in the City of Chesapeake
When hiring a plumber to fix a plumbing problem in your home, you have to be sure the plumber is qualified for the job. Generally, there are cases of unscrupulous and deceptive plumbers trying to take advantage of unsuspecting residents of Chesapeake. In May 2018, the Attorney General of Virginia filed an action against three contractors operating in Central and Northern Virginia, the City of Roanoke, and the City of Chesapeake for collecting about $38,000 from different consumers without completing the project. Each contractor was prohibited from operating and paid at least $4000 in restitution and $2000 as civil penalties. Some of the methods these deceptive individuals employ include avoiding work contracts, insisting on collecting full payment upfront, using scare tactics, and door-to-door solicitation. You can avoid falling victims to these deceptive plumbers by taking the following precautionary steps:
- Confirm the licensing status of your intended plumber. You can use the license lookup tool provided by the DPOR.
- Execute a written contract with your plumber before the commencement of your plumbing project. Ensure you also understand all the terms in the agreement before signing it.
- Request for previous work references from your intended plumber. You can also use third-party websites like Google Review and Better Business Bureau to get additional reviews on the plumber, especially if the plumber is available on these platforms.
- Avoid paying more than 10% of the project's total cost as down payment.
- Store copies of all receipts and documents executed for the project in a safe place.
You can report deceptive plumbers in the City of Chesapeake to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) by completing a complaint form and submitting it as directed at the end of the form.
If unsatisfied with the resolution of the DPOR, you can file a civil lawsuit at the Chesapeake General District Court. Before proceeding with the action, it is advisable to seek proper legal advice from a lawyer. You can contact the Virginia State Bar lawyer referral services at (800) 552-7977 or via email to find active lawyers near you. For low-income earners in Chesapeake, they can contact the Virginia State Bar legal aid at (757) 627-5423.